Intelligence released in a report by the New York Times has revealed how an Israeli operation assassinated Iran's top nuclear scientist – using a robot gun operated by a sniper 1,000 miles away.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was a leading Iranian nuclear scientist, and also highly influential within the Iranian regime, rumoured to have headed up the government's nuclear project.
Fakhrizadeh was a hugely important figure within Iran, and his assassination may well have severely hampered the regime's nuclear ambitions.
The assassination was carried out using a high tech weapons system consisting of a remotely operated gun mounted on a disguised pick-up truck.
This was then controlled by a Mossad sniper location more than 1,000 miles away from the target.
Artificial Intelligence was used to compensate for a 1.6 second delay between the video footage of the target and the sniper pulling the trigger, allowing them to take the shots with pinpoint accuracy.
A second vehicle was also positioned on the route that the convoy would take, fitted with cameras to allow operatives to further pinpoint the precise location of Fakhrizadeh along the stretch of read where the ambush would take place.
The weapon, which weighed more than a ton, had to be smuggled into Iran in pieces using a network Mossad informants in the country, before being assembled for the meticulously planned operation.
When the ambush was sprung, the weapon proved so precise that Fakhrizadeh was killed while his wife, who was sat in the passenger seat next to him, remained unharmed.
Months in the making, the whole operation was over in less than a minute.
The sniper initially fired into the windshield of Fakhrizadeh's car, causing the vehicle to come to a halt.
They then took aim at Fakhrizadeh, hitting him in the shoulder before he was reportedly able to exit the vehicle.
He was then hit three more times before reportedly dying in his wife's arms.
The sniper fired 15 shots in total.
The operation was a humiliation for the Iranian regime, which had already lost one of its leading generals Qassem Soleimani to a US drone strike in January 2020, less than a year prior to Fakhrizadeh's death.
This loss of two such high profile individuals severely undermined confidence in the Islamic Republic's ability to protect its own top brass.
But the operation itself had been a long time in the making, with Israel reportedly speeding up the process when it started to become clear that Donald Trump would not be re-elected as US president.
Donald Trump had stepped back from the US / Iran nuclear deal, something which Israel may have felt that Biden, who served as Obama's vice president when the deal was negotiated, may wish to revisit if elected.
As a result, the operation was sped up.
It is not clear how much prior knowledge the operatives had before carrying out the attack, however we do know that the US was informed that the attack would be carried out.
Iran has since agreed to a deal with the UN on monitoring of the nuclear programme which could pave the way towards the lifting of US sacntions.
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